The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Trainer Steve Asmussen breaks own record for wins in a year with No. 556

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Steve Asmussen broke his own record for most wins in a year Sunday when Prophesy won the first race at Remington Park to give the trainer victory No. 556.

Asmussen, who trains reigning Horse of the Year Curlin, set the record of 555 wins in 2004.

On Saturday, he equalled the mark with two winners, and topped the record after Prophesy, a three-year-old grey filly won by a half-length as the even-money favourite.

"We've had a tremendous year, made possible by some tremendous opportunities and my outstanding help," Asmussen said from the Fair Grounds, where he had several horses entered Sunday.

Curlin, sired by Canadian-bred Smart Strike, gave Asmussen some of his biggest wins in 2008, taking the Stephen Foster Handicap, the Woodward Stakes and the Jockey Club Gold Cup. He also trains Pyro, winner of the Risen Star Stakes and the Louisiana Derby.

Asmussen trains more than 200 horses, and has stables at tracks around the country, including Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, New York and Texas. He trains claimers as well as Grade 1 stake horses.

"The success we've had with the Curlins and the Pyros has been fantastic," Asmussen said. "But we came from a small, midwestern track, and I like to think that we remember where we came from."

Asmussen had 11 horses entered at six different tracks Sunday.

As the trainer watched the record-setting race, he did not realize it was on tape delay.

"I was watching and my wife called to congratulate me. I said, '"They're at the half-mile pole!"' he said.

Asked about reaching 600 wins before the end of the year, he said "Churchill closes this week and Woodbine and Remington are right behind them, so there aren't a lot of opportunities. Five-ninety, maybe."

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